Rick's Innovative Starting Technique

Apr 10, 2006

RAY: This is mostly a true story. Of course, I obfuscated the dickens out of it. This came from my friend, Rick Chadwick.

This happened about 20 years ago, or so. One day he was at the garage, and he told me this story.

Here it is:

Rick had had a typical busy day. After completing his workday as a carpenter, he went to the local lumberyard where he bought a box of roofing nails, two rolls of tarpaper, eight bundles of roof shingles, three 80-pound bags of ready-mix concrete, and the latest model 24-volt cordless drill.

Then, he sped off to the dry cleaners where he picked up what seemed like every article of clothing he owned: a bunch of shirts, dress pants, sports jackets, and some neatly folded and much needed underwear.

TOM: Let me guess. He had already resorted to turning his very last pair inside out.

RAY: Exactly.

Next, he carefully hung his garments in the back of his Suburban and dashed off to his weekly transcendental meditation meeting. These three-hour meetings always seemed to calm his spirit, and he left that week's meeting with an inner peace and harmony-- and the phone number of the instructor.

When he got to his truck, he noticed that the hood was ajar, but thought nothing of it. He turned the key and it cranked and cranked, but wouldn't start. He opened the hood. There were no spark plug wires! Somebody had stolen his spark plug wires.

TOM: That's unconscionable!

RAY: Rick meditated. All of his tools were at the job site. But a flash of inspiration had him on his way in minutes.

TOM: Did he steal someone else's spark plug wires?

RAY: Rick? Never! How did he get his car going?
TOM: Did he really do this?

RAY: He really did do it. He said he almost peed his pants when it worked.

He took the hangers from the dry cleaning and he fashioned sparkplug wires out of them. He connected them between the towers of the distributor cap and the appropriate spark plug. He was pretty sure he got a couple of them crossed, because the thing backfired-- boom, boom, ba-boom! But he actually got his truck started, and drove it home. Pretty good, eh?

TOM: Wow, that is. That's very good.

RAY: So who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is R.J. Dimaggio from Greenwood, Arkansas. And for having his or her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, R.J. gets a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com. And with Mother's Day coming up, R.J. can get our CD about mothers and cars called 'Maternal Combustion.'

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